Dings' fightback is halted by a last-gasp try
DINGS staged a magnificent second-half comeback, but their hard work was in vain as they conceded a late try.
Trailing by 14-0 at half-time, Dings went further behind to an early second-half try by Southend to leave them 19 points adrift.
But then 19 points from stand-off Mark Woodrow levelled the score at in the 75th minute.
With just minutes to go and Dings pressurising the home try line Southend full back Matt Billings came up with an interception to run the full length of the field for a hard fought home win.
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In an ill-tempered explosive start to the match a clash between the two packs saw referee Rob Warburton sin bin two from each side after just five minutes.
The home side coped with the disruption better than Dings and dominated possession for long periods of the first half.
Pressure told and the home side stand-off Liam MacGeachy landed three penalties and wing Perry Sanson a try.
At this stage of the game it appeared that the visitors well out of sorts and defending for almost the whole 40 minutes.
Things got worse for Dings when after just two minutes of the restart hooker Charles Keenan crossed for Southend's second try to extend their lead to a commanding 19 points with, seemingly, no way back for Dings.
This stung Dings into action with lock Dave Bufton leading the charge the pack woke up and the visitors began to get on top.
With a steady flow of possession Dings pressurised the Southend line resulting in three well struck penalties from Woodrow, pictured, to reduce the deficit to 9-19 on 60 minutes.
Continued pressure produced a break by Dings hooker Adam Bellamy which was finished off by Woodrow with a try under the posts which he converted.
Then a further penalty from Woodrow saw the Dings draw level at 19-19 on 75 minutes.
An unlikely win was on the cards as Dings pressed hard on the home line in the dying minutes, but an interception by the home full back Billings saw him run the length of the field and score under the posts, the conversion was added for a 26-19 home win.